When the Pipe is Blocked

by Lorne Mitchell on 02/09/2010

Most of the past week has been taken up with me trying to connect my right leg back to my body.

However, my leg has not been cut off – nor have I been involved in any domestic violence or serious accidents.

Let me explain…

Last Thursday, I had been suffering from a cramping pain in my leg for over a week.  The leg had been swollen for a while and felt quite detached from the rest of my body.  So I decided to go to the doctors on Friday – just before the long Bank Holiday weekend.  He suspected some sort of Thrombosis (or a blood-clot in a vein) and I started a course of medication to thin the blood.

A scan on Tuesday confirmed that I had Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT.  The sort of things they get worried about when you are old and go on long-haul flights.  So I am now on blood-thinning medicines for 6 months to get rid of the clot.

Picture from: http://heartstrong.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/march-is-dvt-awareness-month-are-you-at-risk/

I suppose it is strange to you that I am writing about such a personal experience on my blog, but this blog is designed to make you think.  It has certainly made me think hard about the more important things in life like family, friends, fitness and general work-life balance.  Even my own mortality!

I have always taken good health for granted and I have not had to go to the doctor for anything serious for years.  But, more importantly, I was thinking how important good circulation or FLOW is in any organism….and I started to wonder what “Organisational DVT” might look like.

If you look for natural flows in an organisation, then there is deal flow and cash flow and the flow of information to fix a problem.  There is also the flow of planning information to coordinate future plans and get everyone (especially suppliers and customers) in-sync.  If things really go wrong, then we can end up with burst pipes and oil disasters.

So the concept of one of these flows within an organisation getting blocked becomes quite interesting to me in the work that I do.

In many ways, if things are flowing, then life is as it is meant to be.  If things are blocked, then life becomes a struggle and the consultants get called in – both medically and managerially!

So if the analogy can be taken further, then it is interesting to wonder what the equivalent of blood-thinning agents are to organisational DVT…  One of the most important is cash – and if you can’t borrow it, then parts of the organisation will surely become blocked and unhealthy.  But there are probably many more examples.

Now I know what is wrong with my leg, then I hope it will start to reattach itself to the rest of my body, as it were, so that I feel whole again as the clot dissolves.

After all, you only have one body – and selling-off parts or divisions to the highest bidder is not the answer in this particular case!  That is where the analogy between human bodies and organisational bodies perhaps starts to break down.

All the same, it is an interesting analogy and one that I may well explore further in future Thursday Thoughts.

As before, all comments welcome!

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